When it comes to peanut butter cookies, there are two approaches you can take: the traditional drop cookie method of creaming butter and sugar and stirring in flour, or the 5-ingredient flourless approach, which relies on just peanut butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt. We considered both for our brand new peanut butter cookie recipe, but quickly landed on the flourless approach: the ingredient list is shorter, you can mix it all up by hand, and you can load it up with peanut butter for bold, nutty flavor. To keep the cookies from tasting too sweet, we opted for natural peanut butter (look for jars with no added sugar) and cut back on the total amount of sugar in the recipe. The result are peanut butter-packed cookies with crisp edges and chewy centers that are sure to be your new go-to.
1 16 oz. jar natural peanut butter (about 2 cups)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
⅓ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon kosher salt
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place peanut butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a large bowl and stir with a rubber spatula until combined. Add eggs, vanilla, and salt and stir to combine.
Shape dough into balls (about 2 tablespoon each), and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. (If dough is too sticky to handle, refrigerate for 10 minutes or dampen your hands with cold water before shaping.) Run a fork under cold water. Using the tines, flatten each ball, creating a crisscross pattern.
Bake until edges of cookies are set and beginning to brown, 14 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheets top to bottom and back to front halfway through cooking time. (These can also be baked 1 sheet at a time on the middle rack of the oven; reduce baking time to 10 to 12 minutes.)
Super-Crunch Peanut Butter Cookies: Prepare recipe as directed, stirring in 1 cup chopped dry-roasted, salted peanuts before shaping into balls. Makes 27 cookies.
Sea Salt-Espresso Peanut Butter Cookies Prepare recipe as directed, stirring in 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder and ¼ teaspoon flaky sea salt before shaping into balls. To make a sugar-espresso coating, stir together ¼ cup granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder, and ¾ teaspoon flaky sea salt in a small bowl. After shaping dough balls, roll in sugar mixture before transferring to cookie sheet. Makes 27 cookies.
Oatmeal-Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl Peanut Butter Cookies Prepare recipe as directed, stirring in ¾ cup old-fashioned regular rolled oats, ½ cup raisins, and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon before shaping into balls. Makes 30 cookies.
Pretzel-Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Cookies: Prepare recipe as directed, stirring in 4 ounces chopped milk chocolate, 4 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate, and 1½ cups chopped pretzels before shaping into balls. (Dough balls will be slightly larger, about 2½ tablespoons.) After shaping into balls, flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. Do not make pattern with fork tines. Makes 36 cookies.
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